One of the more important secondary factors for the warmer climate we are getting is methane coming from agriculture. Especially cows are a big source of methane.
While methane is way less in pure mass then CO2, it is 32 times more effective in rising the temperature of our only earth. And up to one third of that methane comes from cows.
Cow digestion relies on millions of microbes in their guts processing and fermenting high-fibre foods.
Cattle constantly burp and emit the methane being produced in their stomachs. The gas can also be expelled from their rear ends and from manure, but to a lesser extent.
(I love the “rear end” part :D)
Scientists of the University of California have now made a surprising discovery: Feeding cows small amounts of seaweed additionally to their normal food can eliminate their methane output nearly completely.
The algea disrupt enzymes of digestion microbes, stopping them from producing methane.
Further tests need to be done to see if the cows show any negative effect of that change. Livestock feed, especially for the highly specialized breeds in use today, are a delicate matter, not only because of what comes out of the rear end. Give the wrong feed and the animals may get sick or even die. (Hint: If there is a “no feeding” sign near e.g. horses or in the zoo – don’t feed them. For that same reason.)
My newspaper source does not include the name or amount of algae, but they link to a prior study in vitro using the algae Asparagopsis taxiformis where 10% is told as a “significant reduce”, 50-70% of methane.
The newspaper also says that algae are very good to add because they grow easily. I am not so sure about it. We are talking about a Trumpistic HUGE amount here that you would need. And normally it is not the growing that is the problem, but the harvesting. Every Sushi fan knows that algae can be quite expensive.
Source: the Independend